Learning from Travis Bass and Tommy Saleh. We spoke to two notable nightlife experts to discuss the mayhem that is Art Basel Miami Beach and get their take on the world of South Beach bars and nightlife.

Tommy Saleh understands the essence of the city’s nightlife better than most – he is know for artistic eye and ability to create a memorable experience. As Creative Director of NY Cult, a New York-based marketing and branding company that specializes in hospitality companies, he has hosted and produced numerous fashion shows, live performances, movie premieres and gallery openings. Six years ago, Tommy joined forces with the ambassador of pop-up nightclubs, Travis Bass, to host the annual Swedish Midsummer Festival in New York City, an event known for gathering the hottest international crowd dressed to the nines for a night of flower crowns, dancing and cocktails.

Tommy Saleh

Travis Bass

Their latest venture brought a pop-up of The Surf Lodge within the Deauville Hotel for Art Basel Miami Beach, bringing a taste of Montauk to Miami for a more relaxed, pool-side vibe. “It was a refreshing change from Manhattan”, Tommy added, “rather than just bars, Miami is all about the sand, sun and beach”. In the spirit of summer, he loves to indulge with a sunny piña colada, “It’s like having dessert—but only one per night.” But when the sun sets and it’s time to start dancing, Travis and Tommy like to stick with their signature drink, an Absolut Vodka and soda.

“It’s about the experience,” Tommy tells us. “The key to a memorable spot begins with the courteous doormen, hospitable and welcoming owners and hosts, skillful staff and employees,” but with any successful venue, the algorithm is not that simple. Travis adds the important for visitors to feel they are “coming home”—a sensation made possible with personable bartenders and consistent cocktails. However, wherever you are in Miami or New York City, mixing good music, stylish crowds and creative drinks is a sure start for an experience to offer something special.